Wellness sector to survive global woes

Wellness sector to survive global woes

Sandie Johannessen says that guests in spa and wellness businesses are still keen on visiting Thailand for their leisure trip and retreat.
Sandie Johannessen says that guests in spa and wellness businesses are still keen on visiting Thailand for their leisure trip and retreat.

The global economic slowdown and geopolitical conflicts will not affect high-spending guests in Thailand's wellness sector, according to MSpa International, a spa and wellness arm of Minor Hotels.

Sandie Johannessen, group director of the spa and wellness division at MSpa International, said guests at spa and wellness centres are still keen on visiting the country for leisure trips and retreats.

Affluent local customers with sufficient spending power who reside in Bangkok or elsewhere in the country will also help sustain growth, said Ms Johannessen.

Thailand's tourism industry has always bounced back quickly following every crisis and challenge in the past, she said.

Minor's hotels and spas have recorded a strong performance in Thailand and worldwide this year, said Ms Johannessen.

She said wellness and medical tourism is a trillion-dollar industry, and Thailand is among the forerunners in Asia.

MSpa operates more than 70 spas globally. Of its 40 branches in Asia, 22 are located in Thailand. The other 30 spas are located in the Middle East, Africa and Europe.

In Thailand, spa locations that earn the highest revenue are based in Phuket and Samui, mostly driven by international guests, said Ms Johannessen.

Regarding the Israel-Hamas conflict, she said there would be a minor slowdown in the Middle Eastern market but it would only be temporary, as the company still has a large number of guests from countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

Foreigners view Thailand as a safe and preferred destination, while wellness and medical treatments in the country are cheaper than those offered in the Middle East or Europe, said Ms Johannessen.

MSpa has a sufficient amount of skilled workers as therapists across the company's locations cater to demand during the high season, she said.

The company wants to expand spa businesses with Minor's hotels, said Premjit Phothiwaraparn, regional director of spa and wellness at MSpa International. Hotels under the Anantara brand are equipped with Anantara spas.

The expansion depends on location. For example, there is only one spa for two nearby properties, such as Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort and Avani+ Riverside Bangkok Hotel, said Ms Premjit.

MSpa opened a Longevity Hub by Clinique La Prairie Bangkok at The St. Regis Bangkok, under a franchise model from Switzerland-based Clinique La Prairie. The company projects half of its guests will be from the local market, while 25% will come from Asia.

Customers who sign up for membership in Bangkok can access other venues under Clinique La Prairie in Switzerland and other countries. Next year the clinic plans to provide an exclusive service, with doctors and experts coming from Switzerland to visit the facility, she said.

Annual membership fees start at 195,000 baht for Longevity Privilege level and 635,000 baht for Longevity Premium.

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